Most folks would love to work from home.
They could work or not work whenever they please. They could do the job from their home instead of from an office (or worse, cubicle); they could eschew their rigid chair for their comfy bed.
Ah, it’s a true dream of a job, and for most… it will stay a dream forever.
Because it’s easier to imagine than to take action and make things happen.
But for those of you that are ready to stop dreaming and start doing, there is a way out of the boring, sleepy, common life of the 9-5.
And reading this article is an excellent place to start.
You’ll find out if proofreading is for you: the pros, the cons, and everything in between. Discover if you’ve got what it takes to become a proofreader
Table of contents
- Proofreading, what is it exactly?
- Work-from-home proofreading jobs
- Proofreading jobs
- How to find proofreading jobs
- Can proofreading become a career for you?
- Conclusion- Are you a future home-based proofreader?
Proofreading, what is it exactly?
It’s the final step of the publishing process.
Third- re-edit based on the copy editor’s suggestion;
You get it already?
The piece has to be spotless before it’s published. However, it cannot be so until it’s proofed.
Proofreading is when you look for minute errors most people would never notice.
Since most people are on familiar terms with proper grammar and, with some effort, can become really good acquaintances with it, proofreading is one of the easiest ways to start working online and from home.
And you can choose to be a general proofreader. For example, you work for a famous blogger, and you proof everything that comes your way, their social media updates, blog post, emails, books…
Or you can specialize in proofreading certain types of writing.
- Press releases
- Restaurant menus
- Court transcripts
- Student essays
- Online articles and blog posts
- Self-published novels
- Legal transcription
- User manual
Proofreading as a job has its pros and cons, which are described in detail below.
Work-from-home proofreading jobs
#1- You work from home and on your own schedule
When you work from home, not just proofreading but any type of online work, you have no boss to lord over you.
You’re in control, for better or for worse. It is your duty, your responsibility to do work, to do it well, and to deliver on the deadline.
But it is also a joy to be boss-free. To feel liberated in your approach to work. What you’ll do today, how you’ll do it, when, and where- it’s all up to you.
And I bet you can imagine it’s better to work from home relaxed and content;
than to sit in a life-sucking cubicle, having arrived there after barely escaping that horrible traffic jam, and surrounded by co-workers you sincerely despise?
#2- Limited equipment needed
Really, to be a home-based proofreader, you only need a stable internet connection and a laptop or a tablet with a sturdy keyboard plugged into it.
And since you’ll always be online, it’s a breeze getting work and sending it proofed back.
You do know how to click a mouse, don’t you?
On a side note:
What tools do you need to be a proofreader?
Here’s the basic stuff you’ll need to use.
- Google Docs- many online proofreading jobs are done via Google Docs, which allows for a markup procedure and adding comments to an original document. Documents can also be shared easily online.
- Dropbox is a great option for sharing documents with clients who want to use Word or some other document form.
- Grammarly- probably the best spell checker online. Use it cautiously, though, and always assume it didn’t catch everything. Because it never will (great tool nonetheless).
- McGraw-Hill’s Proofreading Handbook- If you’re serious about proofreading, you must have this handbook. It has a lot of great tips and tools to make your process and business run more efficiently.
- The Chicago Manual of Style and AP Stylebook.
#3- You actually like your work
I wanna tell you:
Nearly every person I know that has a “normal” 9-5 job hates their work and wishes they didn’t have to do it. But they continue doing it because they think they have no other option.
Well, they do; YOU DO, and working as a proofreader is going to be a double joy for you.
First, you will do something, I presume, you love to do;
Second, you will NOT be doing something you hate only to make a measly buck, so you can spend it on food and lodging; so you can eat well and sleep well and then go back to work, building the dreams of others.
No, you’ll escape the rat race, and that is crucial. Working for oneself is both possible and doable… for you.
I’m doing it, but I had help (see the link above for more details).
#4- New possibilities, new possibilities everywhere!
Proofreading texts online can open your eyes to what else is out there.
Trust me, there are more ways than one to make a buck on the internet, and in many cases, you can earn more than you ever could on a normal job while working significantly fewer hours.
Work-from-home proofreading sounds like a bed of roses, but it’s really not. The job has its drawbacks too.
#1- Tight deadlines
Not always, or often really, but occasionally it’ll happen that it’s late at night, and you get a gig, and the deadline is early morning the next day.
What do you do?
From someone who’s been there and done that, my advice- make yourself a pot of boiling hot coffee. You’re going to need it.
And yes- a pot, not a cup.
Cup is too weak of a dose:)
#2-You need a degree
If you plan to search for work on job boards, you will see that most employers ask for a journalism degree or anything related to reading and writing (there’s no proofreading university).
Don’t let that discourage you. There’s plenty of work to be had even without a degree. After all, you need knowledge and that one first gig. Afterwards, it’s a breeze getting more work.
#3- You can have “dry” periods
Even though the business is booming as there’s more than ever content online, sometimes, through no fault of your own, you will not have work.
Either your employer has no requests for the moment, or your work went to another. It can happen, and you need to be prepared.
The best way to remedy the situation is to diversify your employer eggs:)
#4- There’s a limit to how much you can earn
Unlike, for example, affiliate marketing, which offers limitless earning potential, here you have a limit on how much you can earn. Because even though you’ll be working from home, you’ll still be trading your time for money, and last I checked- you don’t have infinite time.
Question- How much can you earn as a work-from-home proofreader?
According to Payscale, the average pay for an entry-level home-based proofreader is around $16/18 per hour. This is roughly the same, for example, as freelance writers who earn approximately $42k per year.
#5- You need to study and pass the test
Pretty much any legitimate company hiring proofreaders will have an editing test (if not several tests) that potential new hires will need to pass.
To do well on an editing test, you’ll need to have rock-solid English grammar skills.
You’ll need to brush up on AP Style and the Chicago Manual of Style, and if you’re going to work in an academic setting, you’ll need to get acquainted with APA and MLA formats.
The good news is that you don’t need to pay for some special training to master these. Simply pick up the copies of each manual and … get to work.
And you can also test yourself online for free. The internet is huge.
Here’s a useful resource for you:
Also, think of all this learning as an investment in yourself.
The knowledge you gain today is going to serve you for the rest of your life.
Other work-from-home jobs that require a good knowledge of English, punctuation, spelling, and grammar – transcriptionist and scopist.
How to find proofreading jobs
Your approach to finding work depends on your plans.
Do you want to work for some proofreading company? Then scouring and plowing through job boards is a great idea.
You’re bound to find work in no time because this industry is booming.
However, I must warn you:
most companies, not all of them but most, will require that you have some kind of writing-related degree before even considering you, and of course, you will have to pass their internal editing test.
Here are some job boards you can visit,
Bonus- here comes some help!
To give you a boost in your search, I researched a bit, and here are a few places that regularly hire new proofreaders:
- American Journal Experts hire expert editors to proofread manuscripts of non-native English speakers. Probably not for you if you’re just starting out.
- Edit 911 are searching for folks with an English Ph.D.
- Domainite pays stupid low rates but is perfect for newbie proofreaders to test their skills.
- Babbletype is a transcription company, and they’re always on the lookout for skilled editors and proofreaders. New assignments are posted at 6 PM EST; you can view and pick your assignments, and then you must get them done in 22h or less.
- Book Editing Associates are currently looking for proofreaders, copy editors, and publishing consultants. But you need 5+ years of previous editing experience:(
- Wordy doesn’t ask for experience or any type of degree, but you will need to pass their 50m test.
- English Trackers hires experienced academic editors.
- Kibin aren’t hiring right now, but you can still sign up and get notified once there’s an opening.
- Polished Paper hires only “exceptional editors.” To earn the bragging right of being exceptional, you must pass their 35-question test.
- Prompt pay you to proofread college admission essays. Wages start at $20 per hour.
- Scribendi requires you to have 3 years of experience plus a university degree.
- ProofreadingServices.com doesn’t require you to have any previous experience, but you do need to pass their 20m test.
- Scribe Media is hiring freelance “scribes.” This job is a mix of writing, editing, and proofreading.
Still, looking for more companies that hire proofreaders? This great resource from smallrevolution.org gives you 80 websites offering proofreading jobs.
Or you can freelance and market yourself.
And this is what I recommend as you’re being proactive instead of waiting for something or someone.
Now, “market yourself” sounds pretty vague, and I agree.
So here’s a simple step-by-step mini-guide.
Step #1– You need a website to show off your testimonials. So go and make a free site with SiteRubix website builder.
- are free,
- easy to create,
- professional looking
- and forever yours.
I won’t map out how to make one because I already have a guide on the topic.
Step #2– Get testimonials.
You need proof that proofreading is your home turf, and testimonials are the way to go.
How to get them?
You can either work for free in exchange for some kind words about your work. Or, and this is a bit sneaky, you can pay someone to write about you. Finally, you can ask your friends to contribute.
Be creative a bit. And don’t let this trip you. Testimonials are no big deal. You need them so they can be your foot in the door.
And your proofreading skill is what’s going to keep those doors wide open for you.
Step #3– Find work.
Go to Google and start typing in keywords.
Here are some good examples:
- copy editor
- book editor
- academic editor
- line editor
You’ll also want to try the keywords typically used for at-home positions (note: combine them with those above, for example, work-at-home proofreader)
- Work at home
- Home office
So, you’ll be looking for companies that hire freelancers, and once you find one, what do you do?
Well, you don’t go and pitch them right away.
No, that is so inefficient. First, you gather many sites into one handy spreadsheet.
Then you go and email them one by one, offering your services.
- you already have a site set up via siterubix,
- you already have testimonials,
- they’re probably in desperate need of more freelancers.
So getting the job is only a matter of letting them know you exist.
Here’s a template you can use:
My name is “your name” and I’m a freelance proofreader working from my home. If you require help to get your workload delivered on time, don’t hesitate to contact me. I’m an experienced proofreader, and here are some of the testimonials from my former clients.
Thank you for reading and take care,
Works like a charm:)
Can proofreading become a career for you?
Yes, it can- if you want it to become so.
There’s a tonne of demand online, the industry is booming, and once you get going, you’ll see that you have too much work and too little time.
It’s a nice problem to have; it really is…
But like I mentioned before, that one problem is unsolvable.
You only have 24h in a day, and you can’t spend them all proofreading. You’re not a robot designed to work and nothing more. You have a life! Am I right?
And it is here that I’d like to invite you to think of proofreading as your foot in the door in the exciting world of making money online.
But there’s no reason not to pass through the door completely.
Yes, I’m talking about other ways of having a business online, specifically affiliate marketing, which is what I’m doing and am pretty successful at it, if I may say so myself:)
What is affiliate marketing exactly?
It’s a form of marketing where you act as a middleman between the searcher and the company that sells a product.
For example, this is an affiliate link that leads to a proofreading course by Caitlin Pyle. That one course is all you need to become an expert proofreader.
If you click and then sign up, I will receive a commission because my site is a middleman between you and Caitlin Pyle.
Neat, don’t you think so? And it’s all passive, which means it works on its own.
Here’s an infographic that explains the concept better
And if you’re curious about affiliate marketing, I highly recommend you read my Wealthy Affiliate review.
They were the folks that helped me with my business, and I’m sure they can help you too.
Conclusion- Are you a future home-based proofreader?
Proofreading is not the best type of online work you can do. For example, when you’re successful, affiliate marketing is much, MUCH more lucrative (and stress-free).
It’s also not the worst online job you could have, and if you’d simply try your best and start working as a proofreader- you might just get hooked.
I mean, you read the list of pros, didn’t you?
You saw that there are many more pros than cons to this type of work and that drawbacks are a trifle to someone who’s ready to take action and succeed, no matter what.
They’re just an obstacle waiting to be jumped over.
I invite you to think hard about what you want to do with your professional life, and when you do, take a deep breath and… JUMP!
Because, even if you fail- you will fall in a better place.
Leave me a comment, let me know what you think,
That’s another great idea to monetize from home for writers. With the growing competition in writing jobs, one can exclusively do proofreading chores to stand out.
That’s great. You have shared a lot to help people who loves to work from home with their kids. Apart from content writing, proofreading can be a specific stream. Also, you have shared some valuable resources for hiring professional proofreaders. Awesome! Keep posting & helping.
Yes, Sathish, proofreading can be a good place to start if you want to work from home.